December 22, 2005 4:21 AM PST
Europe threatens Microsoft with daily fines
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read or reviewed these new documents," Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel, said in a statement.
He added that the software giant is committed to complying with the Commission's order, noting that a new version of Windows has been shipped without the media player bundled in and that the company has given its competitors "unprecedented access to Microsoft technology."
"Of particular concern is the Commission's latest demand, that the internal workings of Windows be documented and licensed, which can open the door to the production of clones," Smith said in a statement, noting that a European court determined that such a demand is not within the scope of the Commission order. "The Commission confuses disclosure of the source code with disclosure of the internals and insists that it will fine the company if it fails to address this."
The Commission's trustee, however, found that material Microsoft provided to third parties failed to serve a useful purpose.
"Any programmer or programming team seeking to use the technical documentation for a real development exercise would be wholly and completely unable to proceed on the basis of the documentation," Neil Barrett, Commission monitoring trustee, said in a statement.
"The documentation appears to be fundamentally flawed in its conception, and in its level of explanation and detail," Barrett added. "Overall, the process of using the documentation is an absolutely frustrating, time-consuming and ultimately fruitless task."
The trustee advised that the documentation would need a "drastic overhaul," in order for it to be considered useful.
Microsoft contended that its latest revision should be reviewed by the Commission and trustee before complaints are issued.
"We revised the technical documents last week, at the Commission's request," Smith said in a statement. "In the interest of due process, we think it would have been reasonable for the Commission and the Trustee at least to read and review these new documents before criticizing them as being insufficient."
Once an oral hearing is held and, if the Commission ultimately renders a final decision unfavorable to the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant, the Commission may take up the issue of continuing with its daily fine until it believes that Microsoft has complied with its order.
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